Winter Funk

I am smack in the middle of deep winter. The sidewalks are covered in horrible ice and snow, so I can’t do any running. The ground is frozen so farmer’s market veggies are minimal. As a result, I’ve been uninspired and the blog shows it. Meanwhile it’s not worth it to sign up for a gym at this point because I keep telling myself “just 3 more weeks” and I should be able to run outside again.

Valentine’s Day was a nice little pick me up; a little light on this winter darkness. When I came home from work, my bunny greeted me with flowers and this plate of bakery goodies:

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And I gave him two kinds of chocolate from Brooklyn (not intentional). Mast Brothers and Raaka:

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Then we broke tradition and went out for dinner. We usually don’t go out on Valentine’s Day because I get annoyed with crowded seatings and limited menu. But this year one of my favorite nicer restaurants that I don’t get to go to very often had a really great special. I stupidly waited until Tuesday to decide, so by the time I called my only option for a table was 5:15 or 9:30. Since I had to be at work at 7am Saturday morning, we said yes to the Early Bird Special. It turns out no one wanted to eat at 5:15 because we sat against the back wall and this was our view for most of the dinner:   vday14_1

The sun hadn’t even set yet.

Have you ever been to fancy steakhouses where they have a “Steak for 2”? This is so nerdy: I’ve always wanted to do that, but it’s always too expensive. Cook and Brown had it on their Valentine’s Day menu for a very reasonable price ($65 for the steak, salad, and sides) so I was really excited to get it. I’ll skip over the salad picture because it was a salad. (Albeit, a fantastic salad with toasted barley on top.)

This is the glory of our 30 oz steak:

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Behind the steak is a huge portion of bone marrow, another thing I have never had but always been interested in. I am pretty adventurous with food, but even I had a little hesitation over how… real it looked. Know what I mean? It’s clearly a big freaking animal bone sawed in half! And here I am, scooping out the insides with an espresso spoon. I described it to a co-worker the next day and realized that it probably sounded like the grossest thing in the world to her. Oh well. This is food. This is real life. How did it taste? Like eating butter. Beef-flavored butter. If that’s what dogs taste when they’re chewing on bones, I get it.

The early dinner time actually worked out well. We left the restaurant at 7:30 which gave me time to come home, eat my desserts with a glass of cognac, and be in bed at my normal time for work the next day. Man, I hate myself for saying a 5:15 dinner was perfect scheduling. Old people. For real.

The next couple of weeks will surely pick up again because I’ve got some traveling to do but I definitely need to get in more exercise with all of the eating I have in store. I never thought about Valentine’s Day being a diet wrecker but this one was big.

Happy Valentine’s Day, happy 3 day weekend, and happy school vacation weeks to you all.

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Super Weekend

I am not a sports fan, but I did have a super weekend, in which I won. In life.

On Saturday, I woke up and did a workout. Afterwards, we drove to Allie’s Donuts to pick up a dozen to share. Their donuts are epic. I didn’t even take a picture because I thought to myself, “I already have a lot of pictures of Allie’s Donuts” and of course, I can’t find one anywhere. I’ll just have to go again with the excuse of needing a photo.

Later on, I checked out yet another new brewery: Broad Brook Brewery. This place was different in that it was a bar full of their beer and there were tons of people there just chilling and drinking. We didn’t get a tour, but we did make like the locals and hung out for a beer.

Broad Brook Brewing

Sampler flights at Broad Brook Brewing

 

Even though it’s sitting in a strip mall, they managed to make the inside look like a tobacco barn. It’s worth checking out if you are trapped in suburban Connecticut.

I went home and decided to try making buffalo wings! They are one of my favorite foods but I have never tried them. I boiled them for 10 minutes, then stuck them in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes. The skin got a little crispy and the meat was really tender and moist. I was surprised at how well the meat turned out.

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Baked buffalo wings

I made a pile of skinless wings for myself and they were alright too. My buffalo sauce needed work. It was 2 tbsp of butter + 1/2 cup Frank’s sauce + 1 tbsp agave nectar. I was fine with the sauce having less butter, but I think it needed more vinegar which I didn’t have. For the blue cheese dressing, I mixed nonfat yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, and blue cheese crumbles. I love it and I’ll be dipping veggies in it all week. Oh, and I ate them with sweet potato fries. That is one “health” substitute that did not work this time. Sweet potato and buffalo were not tasty together.

On Sunday, it was a tropical 40 degrees out so I finally got out to run. This was my first run since the marathon! 3 weeks. My knee pain was gone, it was warm, and I thought it would be a good day. A little more than half way into the 3 mile run, I started getting hip pain. This new hip pain only started after the marathon so it’s very annoying. The pain is in my inner thigh, at the crease where my leg bends. It hurts most when I bend my leg upwards as in marching (or running). I think it is a hip flexor strain.

And finally, during the dreaded superbowl, I had my own party. I ate chicken nachos and leftover wings for dinner, then hung out in bed watching The Bling Ring and knitting. Best party ever.

 

Bucket Brewery

On Saturday morning, I was on my way to a birthday party for my friend’s 1 year old son and we decided to stop at a new-ish brewery to pick up beer for the party. When we walked into the Bucket Brewery, the super nice employees offered us a free tasting of their 4 beers. Oh, and it was only 10 am. Oops.

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Red cups!

They like to decorate their mini kegs:

Bucket Brewery, Pawtucket, RI

Bucket Brewery in Pawtucket, RI

Bucket Brewery, Pawtucket, RI

Bucket Brewery in Pawtucket, RI

Thank goodness the beers were all relatively low in alcohol volume. Drinking that early took a toll. Even though it was probably 12-16 oz of beer total, I felt kind of crappy the whole rest of the day.

The beers were great though. With all of the breweries we visit, a lot of them tend go wild with big flavors. Not that I know much about how to talk about beer, but I felt that these were flavors were subtle and balanced. I chose the Pawtucket Pail Ale for the party, since it was smooth and light and seemed like it would go well with food. If you randomly find yourself in Providence, stop by the Bucket Brewery!

Pizza tasting at Federal Hill Pizza

Last Sunday started off with beer tasting and it was only natural that I’d do pizza tasting a few days later. I went to a pizza event for Yelp at Federal Hill Pizza.

I got there only a few minutes after it began and the first round of pizza was already gone. Womp womp. No worries though because I drank my complimentary beers and waited for the next round to come out.
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Long Run, Long Sunday

Wow; when I set goals, I set goals. Today was the 9 mile run on my training plan and I survived.

On Saturday night, we made waffles for dinner (more on that tomorrow).

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I considered ordering the Mayweather fight on TV or going out to watch it, but then I realized I would be up too late and it would screw up my running plans. I also didn’t want a cent of my $75 going into Mayweather’s pocket, haha.

Sunday morning was nice and cool, so I was able to sleep in (relatively) til 8. Summer runs stink because when it hits 80 by 10 am, you have to be out the door early. So glad we are now in the “golden season” for running. I had breakfast of chia seeds + coconut milk plus a half waffle + almond butter. We drove to a new place to run, which is another mental boost for me.

Warren, RI bike path

Running near the water never gets old. What was nice about this route was the scenery changed as I got into the bay, then again from the bay to the ocean marshes, then even closer to the ocean with the smell of salty air. It’s amazing how one path can take you through multiple ecosystems, different worlds supporting different types of life. Could be a metaphor for life, right?
Warren, RI bike path

There is no filter on this photo, just a straight iPhone pic. Gorgeous colors!

The run itself was simply excellent. I tried to do it without headphones, but I struggled. As soon as I put the music on, everything clicked. Through the rest of the 9 miles, my pace was on point, my breathing was good, and I felt great at the end. My last mile was my fastest! I felt on top of the world and the endorphins were in full force. I ran at my half marathon goal pace, so I hope I can keep it up for the next 4 miles in training.

Usually after a long run, my blood sugar drops really quickly and I need to eat something immediately/within 20 mins or else I’d get shaky. I didn’t get that intense feeling after this run. I don’t know if it was because I switched to Stinger Chews instead of Clif Blocks, or the chia seeds, or because my body is just adapting better. When we got home, I drank a little juice and ate the other half of my waffle just to be safe.

After we cleaned up from the run, we even walked over to brunch which is about a half mile away. Despite my snack, I was really hungry by then and commented that they should have appetizers for brunch. We split this vegan donut as our appetizer.vegan donut

For brunch, I did not go all out as I might have before. I got the two poached eggs and hash, except the “hash” was roasted cauliflower instead of potatoes. So healthy, so paleo.sundayrun6

It was so good. I never thought to use cauliflower as a breakfast hash, and I will definitely do it at home. Looking at that small plate, I thought I was going to still be hungry at the end but surprisingly I was full.

We walked home and I got to work on my kitchen chores. I used some peppers to make hot sauce. My lemongrass, basil and sage were done drying so I jarred those up. Then I made  eggplant dip:eggplant caviar

I also tried to bake eggplant slices to make eggplant lasagna but I sliced it too thin and ended up with crispy eggplant chips instead. Some people eat them as a low-carb chip substitute but it seemed too bitter to me. I salvaged the few soft pieces, layered them with pattypan squash  and jarred sauce and have it baking in the oven right now. I have a feeling it won’t be tasty.

I can’t believe the ridiculous amounts of food that has been produced in the past 24 hours. Yesterday after work I roasted all of our red tomatoes, so I’ll add them to tonight’s dinner, and Brian turned all of the tomatillos + a few peppers into salsa.

If this eggplant casserole doesn’t turn out well, I am tempted to just eat pasta and jarred sauce or order pizza because I am pooped.