Month: August 2013

My take on Thai

Occasionally I like to get all domestic and cook something other than my go-to quick and easy meals. And even serve them at the table!


Not too long ago I was introduced to an amazing Thai place, Bahn Thai, and K. and I have ventured there more than a few times. Although we’ve branched out and tried the Kang Dang (red curry), Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodles) our absolute favorite item on the menu is that Kang Keaw Wan (green curry). It is incredible. The coconut milk and spicy green curry work together so well. I could honestly just drink the liquid! Since I was feeling creative I decided to try my hand at making (cheater) green curry at home and since I’m a girl who loves a theme I figured some spring rolls would be a great starter.

As a self-proclaimed spring roll connoisseur, I knew the basic formula. Rice paper, fresh herbs, assorted julienned vegetables, optional noodles and tofu. I did a quick Pinterest search for spring roll sauces and was very pleased with the sound of this spicy peanut sauce, I followed the recipe almost exactly, just increasing the sriracha a bit (because we like our spice). While I was shopping around for my Thai ingredients, I stumbled across these tofu shirataki noodles and thought that they would be just perfect inside a spring roll.

Picture stolen from the internet, because I didn’t think to photograph the package.

After finely chopping my selected veggies (carrots, cucumbers and green peppers) and following the instructions on the rice paper package I got to work creating my rolls. I used basil, cilantro and mint as my herb base and the tofu noodles were the perfect addition! Some were more successful that others but overall I was pleased with the results.



For the curry itself, I used this recipe from Cookie + Kate with just a few small changes. Coconut oil instead of olive, nearly doubled the amount of green curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen) and pan fried the tofu separately for a few minutes before adding it to the liquid. For my vegetables I added snow peas, green peppers and bamboo shoots. 



Served with jasmine rice, because apparently I am all out of basmati. Presented in an awesome casserole dish made by my very talented sister

Overall the meal was a huge success, not quite up to Bahn Thai standards but pretty darn close. I think next time I would increase the coconut milk in the recipe (we like a really soupy curry) and add a few more chiles. The spring rolls were amazing though and the sauce was good enough to eat alone. It was a very enjoyable evening and nice to get some use out of our dining room table 🙂

Training Rundown Week ?: Getting Back At It

Last week was the first time I actively crossed things off my training plan in far too long. But with 8 weeks left until the BIG day it’s time to hold myself responsible again.


Monday: 40 minutes cross-training: NMTZ
Oh gosh, this was just pathetic. It felt SO HARD. At the end I didn’t even have the “well at least I did it!” good feeling. It was just all sorts of bad. Wah-waaah.
Tuesday: 40 minutes running, 8-minute abs 
This week was a built in taper week, since I had the Emerald City half coming up on Sunday, and while I was tempted to push my limits (just because I was finally back to running regularly!) I instead followed the plan to a T. Shorter running days, extra rest days. This run felt good and when 40 minutes was up I desperately wanted to keep going!

Wednesday: 30 minutes running, 8-minutes abs & arm X 2
Birthday run! This was a fun, easy run. I doubled up on abs & arms to give myself a solid hour long workout, because that just seemed right.

Thursday: 30 minutes cross-training 8-minute abs & arms X 2
Originally I had planned to do Jillian again but after the disaster that was Monday (and the fact that I was still sore from it) I didn’t want to push it. I kept it nice and light.

Friday & Saturday: Rest
Even though I wasn’t racing E.C. I still wanted two solid days of rest. Plus this was my first week really back on my training game and I knew I shouldn’t overdo it.

Sunday: Emerald City Half!
I’ll be honest- I was not looking forward to this. I felt unprepared and was really afraid that I was going to struggle through (and that would be a big hit to my ego that I wasn’t prepared for).  My sister, of Despite My Pancreas, was in town to run the quarter marathon (why didn’t I just do that?!) so at least having her around made the whole thing sound a little less miserable. I stuck with what I usually do for halves: a pasta dinner & early bedtime the night before, a small cup of coffee + PB toast the morning of the race. 

Due to the 7a start time, we had an earlier than usual wake up call in order to have (what we thought would be) plenty of travel time. We ended up hitting terrible traffic and struggled to find parking, despite the promise that ample parking would be available. By the time we had parked it was a few minutes after 7 and we didn’t even know if we’d be able to run. We made our way over to the starting line and the director was announcing that anyone who could hear his voice would be able to start, so we simply walked to the chute and started running. It was so weird! I had about 2.5 miles with Jen before the quarter and the half split off and we spent most of that time weaving through folks so that we could settle into our own pace. I’ll have to say that while that was a bit frustrating (and totally our fault/the traffic jams fault) it did prevent me from starting out fast or feeling tempted to race. Once I was on my own I set my Garmin to only show my HR and just enjoyed the scenery. Honestly, 13 miles flew by! I felt strong, I didn’t walk or stop at all, I kept my pace solidly within my long run goal pace and I finished with negative splits! I was even able to pose for photographers (something I have never even thought to do) and sprint to the finish. Even though it was my slowest half yet (2:16 and some seconds) I was more than pleased with the day.

This half was exactly what I needed right now! I’m starting this training week off with a rest day and then diving right back in. I’ve got a big 16-miler lined up for this weekend and I am already excited for a new PDR. 


Cardio? What’s that? (And a discount code for a RAD race!)

It’s time to put the cardio back in to Cardio, Cats and Cooking!

As you’ve probably noticed there has been little to no mention of my training as of late and that’s because I haven’t exactly been sticking to my training plan. I took a few weeks to dial it back a bit and try to get myself (physically and mentally) back to a good place. I feel like I’m finally there so I’m ready to hold myself accountable.

So where, exactly, is “there”? I’m running again, yay! Currently 2-3 times per week but increasing back to four this week. I’ve dropped my speed work days in order to prevent injuries and I’m not sure if I’ll bring them back in during the rest of marathon training. Strength training has been a BIG focus of mine lately- I’m really working on my core muscles because I think it will do a world of good for my running form. 

“Hey Ashley, what about that half marathon you are set to run on Sunday? Are you going to aim for sub-2?”

Oh yes. THAT. That sneaky little half marathon that I keep forgetting about is creeping up faster and faster. Honestly I’m not concerned about the distance but I have absolutely no intentions on racing this one. Slow and steady will be my motto. I think I have it in me to sub-2 but I don’t think it’s smart. I’m mentally preparing myself for the fact that this will be my slowest “official” half ever, my estimated time is in the range of 2:15, I think that’s a really safe pace for me. Why not push it? Because October is my goal. And because my training plan has me running SIXTEEN miles next week, so I’m hoping to remain completely pain-free.

Something else fun to look forward to? 

I just signed up for Color Me Rad here in Columbus and you can too! For the next 48 hours you can use the code radblogger to save 20% on your registration (for any city, not just Columbus)! I have always wanted to participate in a color run and Color Me Rad seems like such a fun race (don’t believe me? just check out their Instagram photos!). Go sign up now!


With two healthy feet, two fun races to look forward to and exactly TWO months until my marathon, I’m feeling really excited about running again. I’ll be resuming my training rundowns on Monday and have a heart rate training update coming your way! 

Birthweek

I find it insulting that we only get a birthDAY. Aren’t we all worth more than one day of celebration? And what if (completely hypothetically) your birthday inconveniently falls on a Wednesday in the middle of a VERY busy work week? Well that is just completely unfair! So, welcome to my birthweek!

We started the celebration yesterday with dinner out with K’s parents. It’s always so hard for me to decide where to eat for any occasion (because there are so many great restaurants in the city) but we settled on Third & Hollywood. Third & Hollywood is a more upscale restaurant from the owners of Northstar (home of the Earth Day free veggie burger) that I have only been to once, many years ago. Similar to Northstar, their menu is based off the use of local and organic ingredients, it’s a small menu (good for indecisive Ashley) but you can tell that lots of thought went into creating it.

For our appetizer we chose the apparently famous cheddar herb biscuits. I have heard many tales of these biscuits and they absolutely lived up to the hype. Melt in your mouth amazing (and probably about 2 lbs of butter in each). K. and I also split the radicchio and arugula salad and sipped on some Manhattans.

This is a terrible picture, I don’t know why I didn’t move the water glasses + pepper grinder. 

K. ordered the pork chop (it was massive) and his parents went with the seared tuna. For my entree I chose the veggie burger. I know that seems like an odd decision but I had no doubt it would be the best choice.


And it was. There truly are no words to do it justice. Underneath all that jazz on the top bun was probably half of an avocado. The corn mixture itself was perfect- spicy and super fresh. The roasted red peppers with chevre were a nice touch. Despite having a plate full of meat and potatoes in front of him, K. was jealous of MY dinner! I think that’s the first time he has ever had order-envy.

After a long walk we headed home for cake (because there is ALWAYS room for birthday cake).


A chocolate cake with whipped cream filling and covered in chocolate ganache from Schneider’s. So rich and incredibly delicious. A perfect start to birthweek!

Taking the "stay" out of stay-cation

On the last of my days off we decided to venture a few hours north- to America’s favorite roller coast!


It’s our summer tradition to visit Cedar Point but this summer was a little bit more exciting because there was a new coaster to try. Gatekeeper is a winged coaster located right at the park’s entrance. A bit of the excitement of this ride stems from the fact that it looks as though the coaster will barely fit through two key hole towers. 

I should mention that somehow we’ve been really lucky with our Cedar Point trips in the past. We’ve managed to pick the most perfect days and have rarely waited more than 30 minutes for a ride. Unfortunately our luck ran out this year. I think it was the combination of going in mid-August and the return of the evil Fast Lane passes. For the low fee of $75 (on TOP of general park admission) you can get yourself a wrist band that allows you to use a much shorter line. At some point the Fast Lane and general admissions lines meet and an allotted amount of riders from each line get through. What this results in is a much longer wait for the general admission folks (and a whole lot more frustration). 

We decided to tackle Gatekeeper first and I am glad we did- if we had delayed I never would have been willing to wait in the ever growing line. The ride is definitely something different- I kept thinking my feet weren’t going to fit! It was thrilling but not really my favorite kind of ride (I like BIG hills and super high speeds). 

Although our spirits were a bit crushed after the long wait, we continued with our day. We went to our second favorite coaster (Top Thrill) because the wait was “only” 45 minutes. We broke for lunch (packed sandwiches in the car) and then made it through only two more rides (the Raptor and Millennium Force– the greatest ride of all!) before we realized it was already 5 o’ clock. Four rides in SEVEN hours is not a good Cedar Point day. We debated for a bit but decided to cut our losses and head home early- all the biggest coasters had waits of at least 1.5 hours and we just didn’t have it in us to deal with that. 

I have to say, I’m disappointed with the whole experience. Cedar Point has been a lifelong favorite summer trip for me and while driving back we pretty much decided that we won’t be returning as long as these Fast Passes are still in effect. Could we shell out the extra $150? Absolutely. But when you add up the costs ($90 for two admissions, $150 for two Fast Passes, $15 for parking, $30 for gas) our little day trip becomes quite expensive. 

Despite the bitter taste it left in my mouth I’m glad we got to get away from central Ohio and have a few thrills, even if was cut short.


Have you ever been to Cedar Point? What’s your opinion on these Fast Passes (and similarly named offers) that keep popping up at amusement parks?

Staycation

I’m in the midst of a mini “stay-cation” and it has been glorious!


I’ve been catching up on housework, slowly getting back to my training plan (more on that soon) and doing some behind the scenes work on the blog. I’m preparing for a bit of a transition here soon so I apologize for how sporadic the posts have been (and will continue to be for just awhile longer). It’ll all be worth it, I promise!

Another thing I can promise? That rad post that I teased about- keep your eyes on my blog later this week!


Hope everyone is enjoying the tail end of summer!

Eats (& Drink) as of late

The past few days have been kind of a whirlwind- crazy busy as per usual but looking forward to a nice stay-cation next week. Let’s cut right to the good stuff- what I’ve been eating and drinking lately!

While running errands downtown, we popped into Cafe Brioso for the best cappuccinos around. We were introduced to this place when the baristas were serving up free lattes at one of K.’s bike race last fall. I don’t know what kind of black magic they use but it’s the best coffee I’ve ever had.



Despite my proclamation to get right back on track, I’ve still been indulging a bit lately. K. and I had something to celebrate so we popped into an old favorite of ours downtown, Dirty Franks. Dirty Franks is a delightful little hot dog joint with a HUGE menu that (thankfully!) includes vegan dogs & brats. It’s been awhile since we’d stopped in so we tried a bunch of new-to-us varieties.


In the back we have the Ohioana and the Nicola, in the front we’ve got Amy’s Big Boston and Fire on the Rhine, and on the side some delicious tater tots (because who can resist!). Some of these were more successful than others- the Nicola would have been a big hit if not for the fact that there were unlisted olives mixed in! We really hate olives and probably should have assumed that a Greek-themed relish would include them. Live and learn! K. declared Amy’s Big Boston his favorite and I was torn, but leaning towards Fire on the Rhine (mmmm sriracha!).

Since I was already on a roll with the less than healthy eating, I figured it was time for a cupcake fix! This cooler weather (that I am still hating) has had me craving s’mores, so naturally I made s’mores cupcakes!


These guys were good, but unfortunately not S’mores-y enough (even though more marshmallows + marshmallow fluff was added for serving). They were SUPER chocolatey, and it was almost overwhelming, but also very moist and they had a delicious graham cracker curst (my favorite part). Not worth sharing the recipe though, sorry!

After all those treats, I was finally pushed to my limit and needed a detox week of sorts- so my “treats” yesterday were my favorite Greek yogurt pancakes made with the new Chobani coconut (heavenly!)


And a Key Lime Pie Larabar, which might be my new favorite. 

(I promise I’ve been eating vegetables too!)

What have you been eating lately?


Cute cat alert!

I had reserved yesterday for a big Foodie Pen Pals reveal but unfortunately my box has been lost to the big post office in the sky… or at least some random location in the U.S. I hope to have a belated reveal soon though!

So instead of running and enjoying goodies I received in the mail, I’ve been hanging with adorable cats


And indulging in giant veggie burgers and sweet potato fries


I think my metabolism is finally slowing back down because I could barely get through half of this but the leftovers made for a perfect lunch!

I am counting the hours, minutes and seconds until my next run (Friday morning, one full week of rest) and my legs are itching with excitement! I’ve updated my training plan on the fridge and I can’t wait to start crossing days off again. Next week is jam-packed with work out plans and it will feel so good to get back to normal. 

I’ve also been adding some races to my calendar and can’t wait to share them with you all. It’s so exciting to watch my fall fill up, it should be a fun couple of months.

How are your race calendars shaping up? 

Anyone else on a running hiatus and losing their mind?!